Welcome to April, my absolute favorite month of the entire year (this may or may not be influenced by what my birthday party and the pollen count look like). At this point, the birthday party plans are set, the pollen count isn’t bad yet and there are plenty of Nashville literary events to be excited about.
If you’ve read my last few monthly columns, it’s clear I’m a fan of Southern Word and all it does for the next generation of writers and spoken word artists. This month, Southern Word brings together teams of high school poets, emcees and spoken word artists to compete for lyrical top honors and a shot to travel to the Brave New Voices Festival this summer in Washington D.C. The Grand Slam High School Team Final event takes place on Thursday, April 21 at 7 p.m. at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (505 Deaderick Street). It is free to attend, but get there early if you want a good seat.
On April 19, at the appropriate time of 6:15 p.m. at the Main Nashville Public Library, Salon@615 welcomes a local author, actress, and advocate for dementia research and caregivers, Kimberly Williams-Paisley. She will be reading from her new book, Where the Light Gets In, which tells the tragic story of her mother’s struggle — beginning at the age of 62 — with a rare form of dementia that slowly crippled her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family. Admission is free plus the $2.50 online ticket fee if purchased in advance. You may want to get your tickets in advance because there are only approximately 100 auditorium tickets available on-site on the day of the event.
Find out more about Salon@615 events here.
Poetry Readings and Open Mics
Nashvillian Rita Bullwinkel’s monthly reading series, Band of Poets, takes place this month on Tuesday, April 12 at 9 p.m. at Bobby’s Idle Hour (1028 16th Avenue South). It will feature Simon Han, Liv Stratman, Mariann VanDevere, Sara Estes and Jesse Bertron.
Matt Johnstone will lead his regular Et Al. Poetry reading on Sunday, April 10 at Sauvage (1114B 3rd Avenue South). Starting at 8 p.m., free to attend, wine for donations (and proper identification), this spring fling will feature Billy Cancel, Richard Harper, David Bersell and Ellie Caudill.
Poetry in the Brew, the open mic series with featured guests, takes place every second Saturday of the month at Portland Brew East (1921 Eastland Avenue). On Saturday, April 9 from 5:30-8:30 p.m., the event will feature the lyrical musings of Jon Taylor. Christine Hall will host. The event, which never disappoints, is free to attend and fills up quickly.
Ciona Rouse is back this month with a crème of the crop of monthly events for lovers of words. Her Writings on the Wall series take place at Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) on the third Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m., If you want to be a part of this event, write Ciona at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rouse will also make triumphant return as host of the wonderful series, Lyrical Brew, on her usual final Friday of the month (in this case, April 29, at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University (2501 West End Avenue). Beginning at 7 p.m., round will feature Jesse Bertron (for the second time this month) and Tiana Clark. Both Rouse events are free to attend.
East Side Storytellin’
Consistent with the last three-plus years, I will yet again be hosting two East Side Storytellin’ shows in April. The first, on my birthday, April 5, at 7 p.m. at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street), East Side Storytellin’ 80, will feature writer C. Williams and musical duo Elenowen. Two weeks later, on April 19 at the same venue and time, I will host East Side Storytellin’ 81 with James C. Floyd and Jadea Kelly. Both events are free and BYOB.
Speaking of East Side Story, make plans to drop by the bookstore, even if you just want to meet the newest employee in the family business, on Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m.. We’ll have local writer Deborah Wilbrink share tips and insights from her book, Time to Tell: Your Personal & Family History. Then from 4-6 p.m., we’ll be hosting the release of Jadah McCoy’s next novel in The Kepler Chronicles, Artificial. East Side Story is located at 1108 Woodland Street, Unit B. Both of these events are free to attend, and where it’s perfectly normal to eat, drink, buy books, and be merry.
New Reading Series
There’s a new reading series in town. Life Is Boring: A Reading Series, takes place on Monday, April 4 at 9 p.m. at Dark Matter (1116 3rd Avenue South). This edition features poetry and prose by Daniel Pujol, Nick Rossi, Sarah McEvoy, Ivan Doerschuk, Katarina Bishop and music by Watcher. Admission is $5.
The Porch Writer’s Collective is continuing its efforts to bring you some of the best writing workshops in the region. Bill Brown, one of our favorites at East Side Story, will be leading a new day-long poetry workshop on Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Learn more at Porchtn.org.
I’ll be back on here in May after the April showers wash away all the pollen and I stop sneezing. Until then, I hope you have a great month ahead. Remember to be nice to one another out there.
Ed Note: For a comprehensive list of upcoming literary events, be sure to check the Books and Poetry section at NowPlayingNashville.com.